Government will review gold imports policy, says Anand Sharma

Hyderabad, Jan 3 : Amid demands for relaxing curbs on gold import, India's Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma Friday said the government would review the policy, noting there is a need to strike a balance.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), the commerce secretary, the economic affairs secretary and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will discuss and take a collectively decision, Sharma told reporters on the sidelines of an event.

He, however, declined to give any timeframe.

"As and when situation demands, I will discuss with finance minister. We feel that there has to be a balance. The demands of the industry have to be met.

"At the same time we should not bring in controls in excessive manner which lead to people bringing it in through other means like smuggling. Government is keeping watchful eye. I am assuring that enough gold is available for gems and jewellery industry," he said.

He said the ministry was following 80-20 policy that means 20 percent of the gold imported into India should get value addition and exported.

"There is no dearth when it comes to availability of gold for the gems and jewellery sector and for those who are engaged in business of value addition for exports. The state PSUs have ensured constant flow and availability. We will revisit the situation because we thought that it is on higher side," he said.

Sharma said media should also look at coal imports.

"Why did the country which has the third largest reserves of coal in the world get forced into a situation to import coal worth about USD22 billion when we are talking of only essential imports like petroleum products, edible oil and fertilizers. Why are we importing coal and why should India not be exporting iron ore?" he asked.

"These are some of the things which hurt Indian economy and which should be matter of national concern. That is where partisan politics has come in that India was not able to mine the coal which India has," he added.

On trade deficit, he said it would be significantly less than the last year. He, however, declined to give numbers.

"I can only tell you that in exports we will be doing better and imports will be reasonably less as a result trade account deficit this year would be lower and overall exports performance will be much better," he said.

--IANS (Posted on 03-01-2014)

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